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There’s been a lot of talk about hope lately. SueBe neatly defined it as a way of thinking positively about life. I gave it some thought and came up with a wild variety of metaphors…and maybe a little insight.

You can live on hope, if you need to.
You can eat it like bread, portion it out
to last, like pemmican, (or whatever it was
Lewis and Clark ate while Sacagawea took them
on a tour of places she already knew), only better-tasting.
The point being, hope is at least as good as a native guide,
even if it can’t tell you where you’re going. It can, however,
sustain. Hope is the rail on the stairway, the boy scout
who helps you cross a busy street, the friendly cop
on the corner. It is a safe place to land. Miss Emily
called it feathered, though, I think it less flighty
than the image deserves. It persists like plastic.
It stands in the desert, against the wind blowing
and doesn’t lose its nose, the way the Sphinx
did. It is a hearty breakfast: toast, eggs, bacon.
It cannot be spent, only abandoned. And even
then, it returns, nudging you with its wet nose
like a cat who has decided to stay. You might
as well keep it. The comfort of it will warm you,
some dark night, and make its care and feeding
worth your while.


Hope.  It isn’t something you have, use and never need again.  Why?  Because so many of the things that require hope are not quickly achieved.

But how much better to think of it all as an adventure vs an ordeal.  Have an adventure.  Have a forward journey.  Definitely a better way to go.

So – have hope!


Today I am working on a rewrite.  For those of you who aren’t writers, let me explain.

With every new story, poem or article, we have an idea in our head.  It is golden and glorious because it is new and fresh.  A first draft never lives up to our expectations.  Many people never get past that.  Writers who manage to publish live on hope.  Maybe just maybe the next draft will fix whatever needs fixing.

Hope and determination aren’t limited to writers.  We just get to pair them together on a daily basis.

Pair them with your own God-given talents and see where they take you!  You may not get it right the first time, but that’s okay.  Be like this little guy and hold on to your hat and head for tomorrow.




Last week, I watched a TED talk with a psychologist who joked about the tendency medical school students have to think they have whatever illness they are studying.  Specifically, the joked that his brother-in-law believed he had leprosy but that was only after worrying for a week that he had menopause.

The reality is that if we focus on something that is what we are going to find.  So how great a stretch is it to wonder if that is also what we will create?

I’m not saying that we should ignore injustice, poverty and hunger.  Don’t even go there!  We can’t address what we refuse to see.

But to work toward a solution, we have to believe a solution is possible.  We won’t reach for what we believe cannot exist. It is up to those of us who believe in the Light and Love of Christ to let others know what we see, what we believe in, and what we are working for every day.




This is a brutal time of the year for many people.  Reduced daylight.  The stress of the holidays and seasonal spending which can exacerbate financial woes.  Loneliness and more.

As much as I don’t love the busy-ness, I love Christmas music no matter how insipid my 18-year-old tells me it is.  Lights?  I love a well-lit tree.  Manger scenes?  Stars?  Cookies?  I’m your girl!

But I try to have a care for those around me who are less in love with the holiday season.  I keep my eyes open for people who may not have plans for Christmas day.  Our table seats 8 or 10 if we decide we really  like each other.  And you can always add auxiliary tables.

I do my best to share hope, to reflect light – especially those awesome Christmas lights.  Spread joy.  Fill the world with His Blessings.




Yesterday was the first Sunday in Advent.  As part of the celebration, our youth gathered at the front of the church and lit the first candle in the Advent wreath.  The first candle?  It represents hope.

It is so easy to feel hopeless.  So many are sick.  In our Sunday school class alone, we have three people being treated for various kinds of cancer, one with a bad knee, and a lady with chronic depression.  In the past week, there have been car accidents which means totalled cars and injuries.  And that’s just among those of us in one class and their families.  Add into this environmental issues, the economy and politics and . . . Can’t you feel it?  Hope is ebbing for so many of us.

When I feel it start to get me down, I try to remember to turn to the youth.  Just among our children, we have intellectuals and artists, a young man with a profound sense of what is right and wrong, and several budding scientists and more.

Hope in the time of Advent goes beyond what we can do with our own hands. It encompasses the Hope to be found in Christ, the living word of God, the light of the world.  But these youth? They are a reminder.  Their energy, their drive, their determination remind me of what can be done in His name.  And then I remember to be grateful.




Surely, I’m going to write about Charlottesville. How could I not write about Charlottesville? How could anyone remain silent as evil surges through the streets; as so-called “Christians” claim not to hate anyone, while in the next breath asserting that they would never break bread with a person of color; as a woman is killed by Nazis on American soil?

I need to take a breath. I feel sick.

I feel sick when I reckon that 34% of this country stands with a guy who sees no difference between White Supremacists and those brave enough to stand up to them. I feel sick when I think of the lie of history behind those “beautiful statues” (mostly dedicated in the early 1900s, when Jim Crow laws started being enacted, and the rest in the 1960s when the Civil Rights movement was burgeoning). I feel sick when I think of the hate burning in the hearts of all of those polo-shirted white guys marching with their tiki torches, as if they were waylaid en route to a suburban barbecue.

I am heart-sore. Weary. Nauseated. And yet, I know how privileged I am — what must our black friends, our Jewish friends, be thinking and feeling? It makes me want to swoon into despair.

SueBe and Ruth, my co-bloggers, have been my lights this week, reminding me not to give into the darkness. To keep my candle lit so that others can add their own little lights to it, so maybe we can make a path through the darkness and into a better place. What would I do — what would any of us do — without the support of those who “get it,” who feel as we feel and recognize that what’s on the line isn’t about politics; it’s about good versus evil?

So, for everyone out there too sick and sad and sore to grab onto the life preserver of hope, let me be an outstretched hand. Good people still exist. They’re out there. Maybe they need to make a little more noise, but they’re out there.

And I love you, and I stand with you, and I will hold out my candle defiantly, no matter what occurs. We will not let hatred win. Because no matter which biblical excerpts some people mutilate in order to justify their racism, there is one that trumps (ha!) them all: “7 My dear friends, let us love one another, since love is from God and everyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.8 Whoever fails to love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4: 7-8)

Let love mend us. Amen!


Are you an optimist or a pessimist? The difference between the two is often defined by the old “is the glass half full or half empty?” conundrum. Guess what? Turns out it doesn’t matter what you think about the glass. We are all, deep down, optimists, or we wouldn’t be here.

Reading the news can get you down. It does me, anyway. Just scanning the headlines convinces me that the world is a dark, ugly, little place full of small-minded, uneducated people who just want to watch the world burn and toast marshmallows on the flames. But the news doesn’t tell the whole truth. Not that the news is in any way “fake” — a phrase I detest — but simply that it cannot cover the complex entirety of the modern human condition. Even I can spot the better headline: “Man Kills Dozens” will always triumph over “Man Happily Distributes Free Lemonade and Hugs.”

But you turned up this morning for all of this news — bad and good (mostly bad) — didn’t you? You got out of bed. You put on your socks (or omitted them; it’s kind of too hot for socks). You gave your body fuel and opened your front door. Congratulations! You are officially an optimist. And pretty darned brave, to boot.

Do you think it takes more than just showing up to show courage? Maybe. But for any thinking person it’s more than enough. To watch bad things happen and still say, “You know what? I’m going out there anyway” is a testament to human resilience. After being ejected from the Garden of Eden, did Adam and Eve just pack it in and give up? Nope. Even though they’d lost access to unbridled happiness, they went on anyway. This kind of steel is precisely what God knew we would need to function in the world.

So if you’re here today, reading this, and just trying to bumble through life, I salute you. Thank you for continuing to take a chance on the world. Thank you for not giving up or giving in. The world needs you. I need you. Don’t give up. Despite what it says in the news or anywhere else, most of us are just like you. We’re trying. It is the stuff of superheroes, of saints. It is brave.



Have a Mary Little Christmas

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